“Explanatory” talk in mathematics research papers
conference contributionposted on 08.12.2016 by Juan P. Mejia-Ramos, Matthew Inglis
Any type of content contributed to an academic conference, such as papers, presentations, lectures or proceedings.
In this paper we explore the ways in which mathematicians talk about explanation in their research papers. We analyze the use of the words explain/explanation (and various related words) in a large corpus of text containing research papers in both mathematics and physical sciences. We found that mathematicians do not frequently use this family of words and that their use is considerably more prevalent in physics papers than in mathematics papers. In particular, we found that physicists talk about explaining why disproportionately more often than mathematicians. We discuss some possible accounts for these differences.
This project was funded by the British Academy.
- Mathematics Education Centre